"You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you."-- Eric Hoffer
What scares you? Spiders crawling on your bed while you sleep with your mouth open? They inch their way up your legs but you don’t feel them because you’re too busy dreaming something you’ll hope to forget before you wake. While you run around puddles of dirt water in your vague nightmare, the spiders reach your neck. Unconsciously you bat away a couple of web crawlers, never being fully aware of the real danger that rests just inches from your chin. Unbeknown to you, one spider remains poised to enter a chamber of snoring echoes; a chamber filled with a warm intriguing darkness—your mouth.
While you do your best in the world of dreams to avoid the ever growing puddles because you know that if you step in one, you will fall into an abyss filled with pain and misery. In fact, you’re sure a demon waits, salivating for the opportunity to strip you of all dignity. He will expose your faults and even worse, make you relive your nerve-racking fears. While you wrestle with a fantastic and seemingly never ending nightmare, in real life, the spider enters your mouth. Out of sheer instinct, you shut the opening, preventing the insect from escaping. Feeling something in your mouth, you begin to chew, because in your dream, while you jump over puddles, miraculously avoiding them, you bite down on a Slim Jim and savor the salty taste. It’s only when you swallow, your eyes open to familiar surroundings. The thing still mixing with saliva in your mouth, doesn’t taste like the piece of processed meat. Instead you jump from your bed and turn on the lights. At first your eyes can’t make out the distinctive shapes, but just when you think nothing happened and that you’re mixing your dreams with reality, you spot two web crawlers. You cringe when witnessing their wide bodies crawling on the sheets, searching for their companion.
Screams fill the air. Screams of terror bounce off the objects in your room. As if your horrible reality wasn’t enough, you realize, something was in your mouth. You rush into the bathroom, turn on the lights and examine it. You gag when you spot a thin thread stuck between your teeth. No, not a thread, but a spider’s leg. Convulsions lead you to the toilet where your body forcibly dispels the monster that invaded it. A morbid thought pops into your mind. You are what you eat. “Yuck!” In addition to the exhausting act of vomiting, you spit until you can’t spit anymore. You brush your teeth, thrice, making sure to floss like never before and rinse with plenty of mouthwash.
At last you’re about to go back to bed when you realize, two more spiders are still there, but you can’t see them. They’re hiding, waiting for you to go back to sleep, back to the puddles, back to falling into the abyss.
So what scares you? Is it sneaky insects daring to explore your insides? Or perhaps, strange noises in the night that seem to prop up without any acceptable explanation? Maybe you see pronounced silhouettes of blackness prancing about in the dark? They toy with you and pull the covers off your feet just when you’re in the throes between consciousness and sleep. You ignore the shadows as best you can until you feel the bed indent. Something lies next to you. You tell yourself, how can that be? But you know, your spouse hasn’t stirred, and is in fact, snoring. Then it rises and the pressure on the mattress is released. You want to scream but don’t for fear of looking foolish.
So when you write horror, write what you know, write about what scares you the most. It’ll be like going to battle; you versus yourself. If you frighten yourself then there’s a good chance others will be terrified.
Sweet dreams and don’t let the bedbugs bite.